Phlegm is a killer

Hi there, everyone. I am seeking some advice (home remedies/treatments/prescriptions/anything) for the dastardrly phlegm. I post about my dad a lot on here and his fight (his name is Calvin, btw) We got a CT scan back last week and it was... not good. One of his mediastinal lymph nodes is now measuring about 2 inches and we're seeing lots of local metastases... including back in his esophagus. His phlegm always remained after remission in his throat, and has affected his speech for going on three years now, but it's to the point where his quality of life is severly being affected. He can barely speak, he's always hacking, and when he bends over and hasn't cleaned his mouth out in a few minutes, it comes SPEWING out in a mix of saliva. I'm at a loss, we can't get into his H&N oncologist instead of his overseeing chemotherapy oncologist for two more months.... The solution would be so easy if he could take anything orally but he aspirates everything so he is exclusive to his feeding tube. Does anyone have some wisdom they can send my way? 


  • I too am experiencing what he

    I too am experiencing what he is going through, and although not quite as servere yet, I feel his pain (figuratively speaking) We too are trying to sort all of this out and trying to find a solution to cut down the amount of mucus (phlegn) at least to a tolerable dull roar. I currently have to sleep sitting up, or I will almost choke to death in my sleep. I have to suck on ice chips to somewhat delute the mucus so that I can get it to break loose enough to hack up and spit it out. It does affect my speah at times , which creates a hardship for me at my job in public service for the state. All of this was simply caused by the radiation treatments I received for my neck and throat cancer, and the damage it did to my thyroid gland, esophagus, and epiglottis! Now, although they though they had my cancer in remission over the past several months, today a FNA biopsy had to be done on a painful lump that has formed under my chin and continued to grow for the past few months. At first the oncologist said "Its just fatty tissue" but now my ENT disagrees and so the biopsy was done. I will know the results in one week. OH, just as an added note, even though I'm supposedly in remission, (my negative PET scans have been wrong in the past) they are continuing my mouthly treatments of the two year treatment plan of Opdivo I'm on. Good luck to your dad as he continues his journey through the wormhole of cancer treatment.

  • SuzJ
    SuzJ Member Posts: 426 Member
    Not sure but..

    I have to take zyrtek (or generic) every day, cos allergies to something are bad, plus, I get heartburn, so when I'm not taking the precribed med, I take OTC zantac - ok to get to the subject - apparently these 2 helped me with phlegm and nausea, I had some phlegm, the 3 weeks after were bad, but compared to what I'm reading, I had it easy. Doesn't have to be zyrtek, can be any allergy med.

  • MickeyD
    MickeyD Member Posts: 14
    edited March 2019 #4
    Not sure anyone has a good answer

    I am having similar problems with mucus/phlem and an inability to easily get rid of it, and am also on a PEG tube.   Neither my radiation oncologist nor my ENT (who I saw yesterday)  has an answer.  Had a total of 63 radiation treatments which no doubt are the cause of the problem.  Also had surgery removing a part of my jaw.  The cumulatrive effect has also made it difficult, almost impossible, to spit.  My solution has been to try to cough and growl as hard as possible to break it up a bit and bring it up some from my throat and then use an Orabrush tongue cleaner to drag it out of my mouth.  I carefully try to get the tongue cleaner as far back as possible to where it begins to trigger a gag reflex.  It's definitely not "elegant" (my wife hates the sounds I make doing this) but it works for me. I've also found that I can better break the mucus up and get it to where I can reach it with the tongue cleaner if I cough while sitting in an upright position.   I also try to keep my nasal passages clear by using a sinus rinse a couple times a day.   

    Harley is spot on in referring to the "journey through the wormhole of cancer treatment".  All we can do is try our best to stay positive and work our way through it one day at a time.  Best of luck to you and your Dad.